I want to take a moment and talk about one of my favorite shows. And unlike many of the shows I claim to be my favorite, this one truly is. It’s never disappointed me like ghost Denny, Nikki and Paulo, an unsatisfying deus ex machina explanation and overall character assassinations have. Even when it tried to disappoint me, it didn’t really because the writing was still solid. The show? Friday Night Lights.
Friday Night Lights has had a shaky past. It’s one of those great shows that is critically acclaimed, but doesn’t have a large fan base. It was a victim of uncertain time slots, being shifted around and well…most people thought it was on Friday nights. It almost became a casualty of the writer’s strike. Thankfully DirecTV saved the show. It has the rights to the first run of seasons 4-6. It shows the season in the fall and NBC airs them in late spring/early summer.
Here are 5 reasons why you should be watching Friday Night Lights when the 4th season premieres on NBC next Friday, May 7, at 8pm:
- EricandTami Taylor. Whenever I’m asked about my favorite character from this show, it comes out exactly like that. Watching EricandTami is like watching my parents and I love that. They have a real relationship. They fight sometimes. They don’t go out and have affairs. They love each other and their family. It’s pretty awesome and exactly what I want to be when I grow up. I would say I want them to BE my parents, but that causes a whole conflict since I have a huge crush on Kyle Chandler.
- I know I said the show isn’t about football. It isn’t. It’s a town that is defined by football. Dillon shuts down on Fridays. So yeah, there is some football in the show, although after season 1, there is even less. And they do play some awesome football. When I’m starting to miss football season a little, I pop in Season 1’s “Mud Bowl”, because THAT is what football is to me. It’s raw and amazing. So yeah, the show isn’t really about football but it touches on it and has some amazing scenes.
- The ability to stay away from cliched plot points. Even when they stray towards these moments, like race, abortion…it doesn’t feel like a contrived plot point. It’s a real, honest moment.
- The writing. Yeah, this ties into every other reason, but its true. There has been one moment, ONE single moment in this entire series that I have questioned what the writers were thinking. And then I realized the reason behind it: ratings. It was a Hail Mary to keep the show on television. The rest of the time, its been golden. There’s my favorite element of the writing: the moments where the characters don’t speak. They don’t add superfluous words when a look could work just as well. Kyle Chandler’s Coach Taylor is well-known for this ability. And there’s honest dialuoge between characters and profound monologues:
“Every man at some point in his life is going to lose a battle. He’s going to fight, and he’s going to lose. But what makes him a man is that in the midst of that battle, he does not lose himself.”
- What else are you watching? For all of the complaints of crap cluttering American television, Friday Night Lights is a breath of fresh air. It’s honest, real, GOOD storytelling. Give it a shot. What do you have to lose?
The show starts up on NBC on May 7 at 8pm. That means you have a week to watch the first 3 seasons. And believe me, once you start, you aren’t going to want to stop. Buy the DVDs, rent them, borrow them from me, stream them on Netflix, do whatever you need to do. Just watch.
Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.